Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's Really Big...No, Bigger Than That...It Was Big

Time to get my geek on. Ever wonder how big the Starship Enterprise D was? Well, take a look how it stacks up to various Seattle landmarks(click through to

Neat. Interestingly, "Starship" is not recognized by the Blogger spell checker. It wants to change it to the "Steamship" Enterprise D, and I have to admit, a steam-punk Enterprise would be kind of cool.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Above Ground, Where The Warlocks Really Are

At my old gym, in the heart of DC's Chinatown, the facility was buried in the bowels of the complex of buildings that had sprung up around the Phone Booth(the erstwhile MCI Center, now going by Verizon). It was the official gym of the Washington Nationals, which is a lot like the Washington Generals sponsoring a basketball court(I kid, I kid...the boys in Federal Red are actually playing well lately, almost .500 ball since a 1-8 start). Being twenty feet underground brought one very appreciated blessing: cell phones were useless.

At my new gym, near Times Square in NYC, the gym floor and locker rooms are actually two stories above ground. Now no one is dumb enough (yet) to bring a cellphone onto the gym floor -- though I have seen some crackberries -- but the locker room is apparently a no-holds-barred zone. Conversations with colleagues, friends, and significant others abound.

The topic is usually mundane: business, errands, what to TiVo, etc. What's interesting, at least to me, is that no one is the least embarrassed to say where they are calling from, or what they are doing. I often hear:

"Yeah, I'm in the gym locker room...toweling off, putting on my pants...anyway..."

It's very nonchalant. Since modesty is not an issue, I think they should go a step further:

"Yeah, I'm in the gym locker room...toweling off my testicles, spread-eagle...putting on my pants, sans underwear, doing a nice tilt-a-whirl impression as I'm trying to balance the phone while getting dressed, mooning three or four people in the process..."

Why leave out any details?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Another Empty Room

My new job in NYC has been great, for the most part. As with any new endeavor, there was -- or rather there still is -- a period of adjustment. For one thing, hardly anyone comes in before ten. Happily, jeans and a t-shirt are accepted as a web developer's standard uniform; just as it should be.

Of course there are the standard NYC/DC differences. Sometimes I still reach for my MetroCard when I'm about to exit a subway station, forgetting that it's not necessary here. Seeing promos for the Yankees and Mets, instead of my usual summer stalwarts the Orioles(and now the Nationals), is a little weird. Office-wide e-mails seek takers for extra Red Sox/Yankee tickets, not Redskins/Cowboys. PathMark replaces Giant. Overall, though, it's been a smooth transition, aided by my many visits over the last two ears.

Some things have remained the same. For one, I'm still in the middle of an office move. Apparently, my new employers are transitioning a lot of people to a new building(thankfully, it's just across the street). I was seated among the people slated to move, because apparently, no one had any idea what to do with me.

My first day, everything was normal. People seated all around, working, talking, etc. My desk-neighbor shared the same name as me, which led to some hilarious instances of me whipping my head up when people called for him. Well, it was funny to me.

By the end of the first week, four people, their computers, desks, and phones were gone. The following Monday, everyone but four people(of about twenty) had been moved. My doppelganger desk-neighbor was gone, as was his desk, and my chair. I borrowed an errant one from the empty expanse of the once populated room.

Now, there is no one here except me and a woman whose job it is to, as far as I can tell, sit behind me at a desk -- sans computer -- and periodically tell me about doughnuts and juice available in the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New Songs I've Listened To Lately

"Believe", The Bravery - If there is a Killers/The Bravery feud, this is a mightier weapon than "When You Were Young". Instead of xeroxing Springsteen into tonelessness1, the NYC group kept the 80s new-wave pop sound, tightly wrapping it around this song. Every bit as catchy as "An Honest Mistake".

"The Next Untouchable", Cajun Dance Party - From the start, this song kicks. It has a dark, sinister sound anchored by fuzzy guitar riffs and barely-there keyboard/synth accompaniment. Garage dance music, if there is such a thing. I'll have to pick up their debut album when it comes out later in the year.

and finally, the best for last...

The White Stripes - Icky Thump
"Icky Thump", The White Stripes - I make it rule -- despite being a music nerd -- to avoid singles off of albums I know I'm going to buy anyway. The logic being I'd like to listen to the album in it's entirety, fresh, with no pre-conceptions. Actually, maybe this makes me a bigger music nerd. "Icky Thump", though, I couldn't resist. And I think it's ruined the upcoming Stripes album of the same name for me.

The White Stripes are proof rock will never die, at least not in my lifetime. Hard, crunchy guitars, pounding bass drums; this is what hard rock should sound like. It's epic without being bombastic. They've taken the best of 70s rock and made it their own.

How can the rest of the album live up to this? Why, why did I give in to temptation?

1Who would The Bravery have to copy to truly mirror The Killers? Tom Petty? Waits? Hopefully, we'll never know.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Things You See On The Subway

Far be it from me to criticize the work of others -- especially work I haven't even read -- but I find this hilarious:

"Flip" Flippen? How can I take anything the man writes seriously? I find hard to believe that a man whose first name is "Flip" -- a sitcom wacky neighbor name if I've ever heard one -- has anything pertinent to say on what's holding me back. If I wanted advice on how to handle dating problems or my arch-nemesis down the hall, then I'll call Flip.

OK, I'm done being an asshole. Maybe his book makes some important points. Next time I'm at a Borders, I'll flip through it a bit.

I've Got Two Weeks In Me

I should have my own place in a couple weeks; the first of June to be precise. Which is good, because my girlfriend's roommate is back. Over G-Mail chat, my girlfriend let me know she would be back Saturday, and "She Fucking Hates Me" comes on. Fitting.

Never mind why I have Puddle Of Mudd on my iPod(because that song kicks ass), let's just focus on the hellish existence I will be living for the next two weeks. I'm not exaggerating when I say I'd rather pop the puss-filled pimples on Satan's ass then spend more than five minutes in the same room with that woman. Negative energy surrounds and radiates from the woman.

I'll just have to lay low for a while. My stuff has been regulated to a corner of the apartment to be "out of the way" and I'm going to wait until she's done in the morning before I even emerge from the bedroom.

Not that it's easy to have a third, new person your place; but I've tried to make friends many times, and to dispense with modesty, I'm quiet, I wash, dry and clean all of my dishes -- and hers. Oh well...June 1st. Come quick.

Friday, May 18, 2007

My Desk Without Me In It

Before I left for New York, I had a glimpse of what my life could have been.

On a whim, Brian and I visited DOT's new building. It was my last day, so I figured why not; I could see what I'd be missing.

The old building sat right atop the L'Enfant stop and was, in every way, a typical Federal building: rooms full of cubicles and offices saturated in boring tones of gray and taupe. The new building was only two more stops down the Green Line, at the Navy Yards stop. After a loud ride full of freshly released school kids, we climbed out onto New Jersey Avenue and found, much to our surprise, a very modern facility waiting for us. A circular bay of huge glass doors; a giant DOT seal on the lobby floor; actual Security turnstiles; two huge atriums(one of which houses much improved cafeteria and snack shop facilities); and huge, clean, talking elevators. Was I missing out?

Apparently not. Cubicles had made way for a honeycomb of workstations, clustered together with no thought given to privacy or headaches. People had been grumbling about this since the workstations had been revealed almost a year ago, and they've been vindicated. I don't know how good vindication feels when you

At that moment, though, we were hopefully optimistic. Or at least Brian was, since it was probably my first and final time there.

The web team had been prepping to move for the past two weeks. Crates were packed, computers, monitors, keyboards and mice labeled. Here, names were taped to every one's new assigned desk. Including, curiously, mine.

<span class=

A strange site, considering I'd never work at this desk. I thought about everything I was leaving behind. This would have been security -- for the most part -- and stability. This could have been my life. I sat in it, just so I could say I did it once. It was comfortable...perhaps too much.

<span class=

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Summertime In The City

The New City, New Job Hits of 5/16/07

"Fireball", The Slats
"New York, New York", Ryan Adams
"My Little Brother", Art Brut
"Juicebox", The Strokes
"Rotten Hell", Menomena ("all those opposed can rot in hell...")
"Ordinary People", John Legend
"On Broadway", The Drifters
"Out On The Weekend", Girls In Hawaii
"This House Is A Circus", The Arctic Monkeys
"Hang Me Up To Dry", Cold War Kids
"Fashion", Earl Greyhound
"Riding On The Subway", Jesse Malin
"New York Apartment", Bill Hicks
"Changes", David Bowie
"Over The Hills And Far Away", Led Zeppelin
"Train Under Water", Bright Eyes
"In Transit", Albert Hammond Jr.
"Every Single Line Means Something", Marnie Stern
"She Will Only Bring You Happiness", Mclusky
"New Slang", The Shins

Sunday, May 13, 2007

So Far...

Last week, I moved the rest of my stuff out of my old apartment and cleaned it top to bottom. I only lived in Columbia Heights a year(actually, a little less), and it showed. There wasn't much stuff to move. The only big furniture item was my bed; other than that there were just boxes of books, DVDs, bags of clothes, and my laptop. So it didn't take long to get from this:

To this:

Most of my stuff is still back in DC; I brought my clothes and my computer. The essentials.

It's so far, so good. I've seen two places, and I want them booth. I have a good vibe about one. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Happy Mothers Day, and to everyone back in DC/Maryland, I miss you already.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Almost Time

What appeared on Yahoo's front page this afternoon:

A thoughtful story on toxins found in the common American kitchen.

What straight men saw:

Er...what? Yeah, toxins. Gotta have your toxins.